Author Topic: "Demeaning" language in prayer  (Read 2287 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • Ο προκαθήμενος της Ορθοδοξίας - The President of Orthodoxy
  • Section Moderator
  • Hypatos
  • *****
  • Posts: 33,858
  • Two half-eggs
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: The Ancienter Faith
  • Jurisdiction: But my heart belongs to FOCOF
"Demeaning" language in prayer
« on: August 25, 2015, 04:54:40 PM »
In the thread "Why Can't I Believe?", MichaelofSN made the following comment:

Not at all, obviously if it was ever only that, I never would have seen the attractiveness of it. But as with all new shiny baubles, when the gloss of the new and novel wore off, I was left with a worldview that drove me into a spiral of depression and anxiety. I hope that does not happen to you, sincerely I do. But that is what I got from it and while medicine helped mediate those feelings, it was a renewed interest in Christianity that brought me to a more balanced place in life.

As for the rest of your characterizations regarding religion, I find the concepts of iconoclasm, damning people to hell or declaring people worthy of death to be quite foreign to my faith, the teachings of Orthodoxy or, quite frankly, a healthy mind.

I very sorry that happened to you.  Though I can't see the future, I don't have reason to believe that I would not continue to find happiness in learning more about the world around me.  My worldview was most damaged by my set of beliefs that came from Christianity, even Orthodox Christianity.

Where my characterization of religion comes from is in discovering that Orthodox Christianity is bound to the same sort of non-sense.  You may, by your faith, posit annihilationism or even universalism, but it does not rid your faith of being dogmatic about it.  You may not believe in a damnable hell, and I hope that is the case, but the Orthodox Christian church does.  I've been to Russian churches, Coptic churches, stateside-OCA churches... I've been to Orthodox Churches all over the world.  It may be that we escape hell in sermon during liturgy, but where it lacks in liturgy, it is being preached to the young, impressionable children down the hall from the narthex in Sunday school.

The Orthodox Church also prescribes that I have a corporate prayer rule in the family's home that requires me to call myself a wretched sinner and deserving of death in front of my children each night.  It suggests, when I struggle with faith, that I pray more to save myself from "the pernicious serpent, who is yawning to devour me"... lending to my children this frightening impression for the remainder of their believing days.

A belief system that requires parents to scare their children into believing and mandates that they attend "schools" that reinforce those fears is wholly wicked itself.

Scarring children is all religion has had.  I refuse to teach my children irrational fear.  Nor will I allow them to believe their wonderful mother is a "wretch, deserving of death" by nightly repetitious invocations.  Because she isn't.  But the Orthodox Christian church demands that she is.


Orthodox Christianity is poetic in it's ways of demeaning it's own people.

That thread seems to have moved on without addressing these comments, but I read them and they stopped me in my tracks.  I think many of us often take for granted the language and concepts in our prayers (to the extent we notice them at all, or even pray at all) without really paying attention to them and considering their meaning.  Michael seems to have pondered them seriously and taken away from them a message which I'm sure their authors would've rejected, but I don't think it's the first time someone has taken issue with such language. 

I'm still thinking about this post, so I don't have anything useful to contribute right now, but I think this would be a good discussion to have.  If possible, I am interested in reading the prayers Michael took issue with, the content of the "corporate prayer rule" he believes the Church imposes on believers, and similar matters because I believe they are relevant.  But even if that is not possible, I think we can still discuss the "demeaning" language in some prayers to see if it is in fact demeaning in context, in what sense it is true (if at all), whether it is balanced out by other language, the nature and purpose of such prayers, how they are best used, etc. 
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

Offline Antonious Nikolas

  • Orthodox Christian, Miaphysite
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,237
  • Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Bishop of Myra
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Oriental Orthodox Church
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2015, 05:18:20 PM »
If we're honest with ourselves, we will acknowledge that we are exactly what the prayer describes, inclusive of the OP and everyone he's referring to.  I heard and prayed prayers like these my entire life, and my father explained their meaning to me, how and why they were applicable to me, him, my Mom, everyone, and not in a way that made me feel bad, hate myself, get scared, or develop a negative opinion of him or my Mom.

I think we should explain the deeper meaning of the prayers to those who are praying them so they are not injured, but certainly not to jettison (edit: or reword) them because they offend the sensibilities of moderns.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2015, 05:19:08 PM by Antonious Nikolas »
I'm with the camp of 13 million Americans that believe politicians are, or are controlled by, Reptilians. I think only monks can solve this problem. It doesn't seem right that they prefer to ignore it.

Offline ialmisry

  • There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
  • Strategos
  • ******************
  • Posts: 41,350
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2015, 05:18:29 PM »
In the thread "Why Can't I Believe?", MichaelofSN made the following comment:

Not at all, obviously if it was ever only that, I never would have seen the attractiveness of it. But as with all new shiny baubles, when the gloss of the new and novel wore off, I was left with a worldview that drove me into a spiral of depression and anxiety. I hope that does not happen to you, sincerely I do. But that is what I got from it and while medicine helped mediate those feelings, it was a renewed interest in Christianity that brought me to a more balanced place in life.

As for the rest of your characterizations regarding religion, I find the concepts of iconoclasm, damning people to hell or declaring people worthy of death to be quite foreign to my faith, the teachings of Orthodoxy or, quite frankly, a healthy mind.

I very sorry that happened to you.  Though I can't see the future, I don't have reason to believe that I would not continue to find happiness in learning more about the world around me.  My worldview was most damaged by my set of beliefs that came from Christianity, even Orthodox Christianity.

Where my characterization of religion comes from is in discovering that Orthodox Christianity is bound to the same sort of non-sense.  You may, by your faith, posit annihilationism or even universalism, but it does not rid your faith of being dogmatic about it.  You may not believe in a damnable hell, and I hope that is the case, but the Orthodox Christian church does.  I've been to Russian churches, Coptic churches, stateside-OCA churches... I've been to Orthodox Churches all over the world.  It may be that we escape hell in sermon during liturgy, but where it lacks in liturgy, it is being preached to the young, impressionable children down the hall from the narthex in Sunday school.

The Orthodox Church also prescribes that I have a corporate prayer rule in the family's home that requires me to call myself a wretched sinner and deserving of death in front of my children each night.  It suggests, when I struggle with faith, that I pray more to save myself from "the pernicious serpent, who is yawning to devour me"... lending to my children this frightening impression for the remainder of their believing days.

A belief system that requires parents to scare their children into believing and mandates that they attend "schools" that reinforce those fears is wholly wicked itself.

Scarring children is all religion has had.  I refuse to teach my children irrational fear.  Nor will I allow them to believe their wonderful mother is a "wretch, deserving of death" by nightly repetitious invocations.  Because she isn't.  But the Orthodox Christian church demands that she is.


Orthodox Christianity is poetic in it's ways of demeaning it's own people.

That thread seems to have moved on without addressing these comments, but I read them and they stopped me in my tracks.  I think many of us often take for granted the language and concepts in our prayers (to the extent we notice them at all, or even pray at all) without really paying attention to them and considering their meaning.  Michael seems to have pondered them seriously and taken away from them a message which I'm sure their authors would've rejected, but I don't think it's the first time someone has taken issue with such language. 

I'm still thinking about this post, so I don't have anything useful to contribute right now, but I think this would be a good discussion to have.  If possible, I am interested in reading the prayers Michael took issue with, the content of the "corporate prayer rule" he believes the Church imposes on believers, and similar matters because I believe they are relevant.  But even if that is not possible, I think we can still discuss the "demeaning" language in some prayers to see if it is in fact demeaning in context, in what sense it is true (if at all), whether it is balanced out by other language, the nature and purpose of such prayers, how they are best used, etc.
First, it's not an "irrational" fear.

Second:"Nor will I allow them to believe their wonderful mother is a "wretch, deserving of death" by nightly repetitious invocations.  Because she isn't. "
Is he married to the Holy Theotokos?

She may not be as wretched and deserving of death as Ma Barker or Bonnie of Bonnie and Clyde, but is she less deserving of either the Holy Theotokos or Mother Teresa-both of whom death claimed?

"Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief"-it is nice to think that I am better than Chairman Mao or Hitler, but that is not the standard by which we are judged. "You must be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect."

Am I perfect? No-and thus in need of mercy. To say their mother is perfect or "wonderful" in the absolute is to say she doesn't need mercy. IOW, blasphemy.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline ialmisry

  • There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
  • Strategos
  • ******************
  • Posts: 41,350
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2015, 05:19:54 PM »
If we're honest with ourselves, we will acknowledge that we are exactly what the prayer describes, inclusive of the OP and everyone he's referring to.  I heard and prayed prayers like these my entire life, and my father explained their meaning to me, how and why they were applicable to me, him, my Mom, everyone, and not in a way that made me feel bad, hate myself, get scared, or develop a negative opinion of him or my Mom.

I think we should explain the deeper meaning of the prayers to those who are praying them so they are not injured, but certainly not to jettison them because they offend the sensibilities of moderns.
The Desert Fathers speak through Antonius Nikolas!

Btw, I had the opposite problem with my sons than your father and the OP.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2015, 05:21:12 PM by ialmisry »
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline truthseeker32

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 643
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOA-Denver
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2015, 05:36:29 PM »
Coming from a Mormon background, where people are more encouraged to praise themselves and each other rather than to focus on their sins, I had a lot of difficulty with the content of Orthodox prayers. That said, I do think one of the major problems is misinterpreting the intent of the prayers, or interpreting them in a retributive, juridical fashion through which Orthodox prayers end up sounding like a Jonathan Edwards sermon.

Even if one disagrees that they are "deserving of death" (which I personally think is an inadequate interpretation of what is meaning to be said) it is also true that we don't merit immortality. Anyways, it might be better to think of things not in terms of just desserts, but rather to simply see things the way they are. Whether I deserve death or not, I am going to die and I am dependent on God for overcoming death.

Offline scamandrius

  • A man of many, many turns
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 9,333
  • Faith: Greek Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: DOWAMA of AANA
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2015, 05:41:47 PM »
I think a lot of us, whenever we pray things like the Great Canon or the troparia of contrition or just read the prophets of the OT, we like to think it applies to everyone besides us.
Da quod iubes et iube quod vis.

Offline ialmisry

  • There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
  • Strategos
  • ******************
  • Posts: 41,350
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2015, 05:46:01 PM »
I think a lot of us, whenever we pray things like the Great Canon or the troparia of contrition or just read the prophets of the OT, we like to think it applies to everyone besides us.
"I thank Thee that I am not...."
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Antonious Nikolas

  • Orthodox Christian, Miaphysite
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,237
  • Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Bishop of Myra
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Oriental Orthodox Church
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2015, 05:51:18 PM »
The Desert Fathers speak through Antonius Nikolas!

LOL!  Thanks.

Btw, I had the opposite problem with my sons than your father and the OP.

What do you mean, Isa?  Maybe I didn't explain myself well, but I don't think my father and the OP had the same problem.  I'm just saying my father took the time to explain what the prayers actually meant to me as we prayed them, so I never viewed the prayers the way the OP does in the first place.  We used to pray Psalm 50 together, and he told me what everything meant, "In sin did my mother conceive me...", "the bones which Thou hast broken shall rejoice", et cetera, so I was never freaked out like the OP or like he's saying his kids will be.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2015, 05:51:47 PM by Antonious Nikolas »
I'm with the camp of 13 million Americans that believe politicians are, or are controlled by, Reptilians. I think only monks can solve this problem. It doesn't seem right that they prefer to ignore it.

Offline orthonorm

  • BANNED for rules violations
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 17,715
  • Ad Aluminum!
  • Faith: DSM 5
  • Jurisdiction: Apostle to the Church of ASD
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2015, 06:00:19 PM »
If we're honest with ourselves, we will acknowledge that we are exactly what the prayer describes, inclusive of the OP and everyone he's referring to.  I heard and prayed prayers like these my entire life, and my father explained their meaning to me, how and why they were applicable to me, him, my Mom, everyone, and not in a way that made me feel bad, hate myself, get scared, or develop a negative opinion of him or my Mom.

I think we should explain the deeper meaning of the prayers to those who are praying them so they are not injured, but certainly not to jettison (edit: or reword) them because they offend the sensibilities of moderns.

Contraire. If you are honest, you would admit you don't believe in any of this nonsense.

What is peculiarly modern is this recourse to some subject that has such a vivid relationship with itself.

Belief is as it does not as you would like to think.

Offline ialmisry

  • There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
  • Strategos
  • ******************
  • Posts: 41,350
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2015, 06:16:06 PM »
The Desert Fathers speak through Antonius Nikolas!

LOL!  Thanks.

Btw, I had the opposite problem with my sons than your father and the OP.

What do you mean, Isa?  Maybe I didn't explain myself well, but I don't think my father and the OP had the same problem.  I'm just saying my father took the time to explain what the prayers actually meant to me as we prayed them, so I never viewed the prayers the way the OP does in the first place.  We used to pray Psalm 50 together, and he told me what everything meant, "In sin did my mother conceive me...", "the bones which Thou hast broken shall rejoice", et cetera, so I was never freaked out like the OP or like he's saying his kids will be.
to just touch the tip of the ice berg, sons who wish their mother dead to go to hell.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline ialmisry

  • There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
  • Strategos
  • ******************
  • Posts: 41,350
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2015, 06:19:42 PM »
If we're honest with ourselves, we will acknowledge that we are exactly what the prayer describes, inclusive of the OP and everyone he's referring to.  I heard and prayed prayers like these my entire life, and my father explained their meaning to me, how and why they were applicable to me, him, my Mom, everyone, and not in a way that made me feel bad, hate myself, get scared, or develop a negative opinion of him or my Mom.

I think we should explain the deeper meaning of the prayers to those who are praying them so they are not injured, but certainly not to jettison (edit: or reword) them because they offend the sensibilities of moderns.

Contraire. If you are honest, you would admit you don't believe in any of this nonsense.

What is peculiarly modern is this recourse to some subject that has such a vivid relationship with itself.

Belief is as it does not as you would like to think.
Gnoticism doesn't seem peculiarly modern.

Speaking of a vivid relationship with itself
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline orthonorm

  • BANNED for rules violations
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 17,715
  • Ad Aluminum!
  • Faith: DSM 5
  • Jurisdiction: Apostle to the Church of ASD
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2015, 06:33:49 PM »
If we're honest with ourselves, we will acknowledge that we are exactly what the prayer describes, inclusive of the OP and everyone he's referring to.  I heard and prayed prayers like these my entire life, and my father explained their meaning to me, how and why they were applicable to me, him, my Mom, everyone, and not in a way that made me feel bad, hate myself, get scared, or develop a negative opinion of him or my Mom.

I think we should explain the deeper meaning of the prayers to those who are praying them so they are not injured, but certainly not to jettison (edit: or reword) them because they offend the sensibilities of moderns.

Contraire. If you are honest, you would admit you don't believe in any of this nonsense.

What is peculiarly modern is this recourse to some subject that has such a vivid relationship with itself.

Belief is as it does not as you would like to think.
Gnoticism doesn't seem peculiarly modern.

Speaking of a vivid relationship with itself


You are outside your wheelhouse.

And this has to be one of your worst uses of graphic in a post ever.

Offline orthonorm

  • BANNED for rules violations
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 17,715
  • Ad Aluminum!
  • Faith: DSM 5
  • Jurisdiction: Apostle to the Church of ASD
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2015, 06:34:27 PM »
The Desert Fathers speak through Antonius Nikolas!

LOL!  Thanks.

Btw, I had the opposite problem with my sons than your father and the OP.

What do you mean, Isa?  Maybe I didn't explain myself well, but I don't think my father and the OP had the same problem.  I'm just saying my father took the time to explain what the prayers actually meant to me as we prayed them, so I never viewed the prayers the way the OP does in the first place.  We used to pray Psalm 50 together, and he told me what everything meant, "In sin did my mother conceive me...", "the bones which Thou hast broken shall rejoice", et cetera, so I was never freaked out like the OP or like he's saying his kids will be.
to just touch the tip of the ice berg, sons who wish their mother dead to go to hell.

Can't imagine how such notions as that would find fertile soil.

Offline orthonorm

  • BANNED for rules violations
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 17,715
  • Ad Aluminum!
  • Faith: DSM 5
  • Jurisdiction: Apostle to the Church of ASD
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2015, 06:37:58 PM »
I think a lot of us, whenever we pray things like the Great Canon or the troparia of contrition or just read the prophets of the OT, we like to think it applies to everyone besides us.

This is the problem when thought has no sophistication, it goes from one extreme to another.

I'm going to let this thread simmer and see if anyone comes up with something other than using it as yet another opportunity to defame a family member, engage in pious cliche, or explain away a very good OP with the worn out apologies that no one who has given a bit of thought to the subject matter wouldn't just laugh off.

Offline Antonious Nikolas

  • Orthodox Christian, Miaphysite
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,237
  • Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Bishop of Myra
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Oriental Orthodox Church
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2015, 06:53:48 PM »
Contraire. If you are honest, you would admit you don't believe in any of this nonsense.

Why would you pretend to know what I believe or don't believe?  What are you basing this on?

What is peculiarly modern is this recourse to some subject that has such a vivid relationship with itself.

Flesh this out.

Belief is as it does not as you would like to think.

You don't know what I do in my daily life or how that relates to what I believe.

This is the problem when thought has no sophistication, it goes from one extreme to another.

I've yet to read anything you've posted that I found to be sophisticated.  Just standard issue trolling and attempted button pushing.

I'm going to let this thread simmer and see if anyone comes up with something other than using it as yet another opportunity to defame a family member, engage in pious cliche, or explain away a very good OP with the worn out apologies that no one who has given a bit of thought to the subject matter wouldn't just laugh off.

If anyone does, it likely won't be you.  You like to play at being the sophisticate, but I've never once seen you demonstrate that you've got the goods.  Here's your chance.  Why not address the OP directly and show us what this thread is missing instead of your usual world weary eye rolling goth kid routine?
I'm with the camp of 13 million Americans that believe politicians are, or are controlled by, Reptilians. I think only monks can solve this problem. It doesn't seem right that they prefer to ignore it.

Offline biro

  • Site Supporter
  • Stratopedarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 20,814
  • Excelsior
    • Archive of Our Own works
  • Faith: GOAA
  • Jurisdiction: Antonis said I'm not Christian, so...
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2015, 06:59:33 PM »
The snake picture as relates to gnosticism is not so bad. There was a fella who used to post here, who was gnostic, who used a snake as his avatar. :)
My only weakness is, well, never mind

And you'll sleep, but they'll find you

Come back my dream into my arms, into my arms

London is drowning, and I live by the river

https://archiveofourown.org/users/Parakeetist

Offline wgw

  • All scorpions must DIE!!!
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 5,816
  • This icon is of St. Athansius.
  • Faith: Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2015, 07:01:42 PM »
I believe it is imperative that we individually accept these self-deprecating prayers as a weapon against the demons of pride.

However, here is a specific problem in the liturgical praxis of that family: if the mother specifically says these self deprecating prayers, she will be diminshed as a maternal role model in the eyes of her children. 

In like manner, if all recite the prayer together, the  children may experience wounded pride in the form of low self esteem (which is different from pride, despite confusion of the terms in the Philokalia; a very good article on Ancient Faith Radio blogs recently explained how "low self esteem" really means wounded pride and not humility, and that's exactly what we sont want, because wounded pride becomes that much harder to convert to true humility and is in fact just the familiar passion of pride operating in a reverse direction; pride is ultimately self destructive, but it is as if this demon has reversed the course of his flight so as to slash apart further the damage to the soul already inflicted by that passion of pride).

This is why prayer rules should be checked off by the priest and we should do our best to try and keep them, but we should make especially sure we are not praying in a manner, in family prayers, that is depreciating of one relative or that the children might not understand.  They are as yet babes, some perhaps below the age of accountability, but in any case, the little ones who our Lord enjoined us to allow to come near him.  They are learning and incorrect religious practice can cause them psychological damage which may alienate them from the Church.  They need to understand the Priest as their friend, helper and confessor, and be able to honor their parents as their primary tutors on matters of morality.  It aounds like this prayer rule is not doing that.  They also, to be sure, need to, at the appropriate time, begin saying the self-deprecatory prayers, understanding the function of these prayers is to help them embrace the fruits of humility, but here they must directly work with their parish priest and the family as a whole must pray according to his guidance.  And if the parish priest proves to be a rigorist or unyielding confessor, which seems to be the case with a minority, another confessor should be sought, for example, a monk.  Many Coptic families have close relationships with specific monks at St. Anthony's in Barstow and I like this model; the monks become members of the family, relatives, protectors and spiritual guides.  Also the role of the godparent as spiritual guardians of the children should not be overlooked.

Lastly I should observe that not everyone should use the Jordanville Prayer Book in the EO church as there are canonical alternatives.  The Antiochian "little red prayer book" springs to mind, and also ipfor beginners I myself am a huge fan of Praying With the Orthodox Tradition, which is entirely unconventional, being drawn as it were from silent prayers said by the priest in an ancient liturgical codex, the Barberini Codex, from the 8th or 9th century, which well predates the current typikon.  But this work is highly flexible and also approachable.

In the Coptic Church you have the Agpeya, and in the Syriac church the shorter Shima for lay use and the grand full length version available in English thanks to a somewaht eccentric Anglican translator, Bede zgriffiths, through Gormidas Press (Ive met the sister of the owner).  Deviating from the Agpeya at least would probably be frowned upon although my Syriac confessor granted me a great deal of flexibility, but the Agpeya focuses primarily on the Psalter, and frankly since only monastics can generally memorize and say the entire Agpeya daily, I expect for families with children a specific regime of morning and bedtime use of it will likely be suggested for families with children. 
Axios and many years to you, Fr. Trenham!

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,017
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Diocese of the South (OCA)
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2015, 07:03:28 PM »
I think a lot of us, whenever we pray things like the Great Canon or the troparia of contrition or just read the prophets of the OT, we like to think it applies to everyone besides us.

This is the problem when thought has no sophistication, it goes from one extreme to another.

I'm going to let this thread simmer and see if anyone comes up with something other than using it as yet another opportunity to defame a family member, engage in pious cliche, or explain away a very good OP with the worn out apologies that no one who has given a bit of thought to the subject matter wouldn't just laugh off.

I seems to me that the OP has only a very crude, simplistic understanding of God, himself, and the Church. However, it may be that he knows in his heart that the Church is right. This may have caused him to formulate extreme positions so as to invite corrective feedback. I recall that you used to do that. Now, you seem to be grasping for any reason to justify where you are at. Be careful.

Offline scamandrius

  • A man of many, many turns
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 9,333
  • Faith: Greek Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: DOWAMA of AANA
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2015, 07:35:14 PM »
I think a lot of us, whenever we pray things like the Great Canon or the troparia of contrition or just read the prophets of the OT, we like to think it applies to everyone besides us.

This is the problem when thought has no sophistication, it goes from one extreme to another.

I'm going to let this thread simmer and see if anyone comes up with something other than using it as yet another opportunity to defame a family member, engage in pious cliche, or explain away a very good OP with the worn out apologies that no one who has given a bit of thought to the subject matter wouldn't just laugh off.

Oh, please enlighten us then, O sophisticate!
Da quod iubes et iube quod vis.

Offline Alxandra

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,045
  • Faith: Orthodox
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2015, 07:42:01 PM »
"O Lord, grant me Thy humility that I may be filled with Thy love, and Thy holy fear may dwell in me."
St. Silouan the Athonite
"And if the man is the head of the family then the woman is the heart, and this heart is made by God that He may find rest in it”
+Elder Arsenie Papacioc

Blog http://the-woman-is-the-heart.tumblr.com/

Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/thewomanistheheart/

Offline ZealousZeal

  • Cosmic Knowledge Fish
  • Section Moderator
  • Protokentarchos
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,980
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2015, 11:04:39 PM »
If we're honest with ourselves, we will acknowledge that we are exactly what the prayer describes, inclusive of the OP and everyone he's referring to.  I heard and prayed prayers like these my entire life, and my father explained their meaning to me, how and why they were applicable to me, him, my Mom, everyone, and not in a way that made me feel bad, hate myself, get scared, or develop a negative opinion of him or my Mom.

I think we should explain the deeper meaning of the prayers to those who are praying them so they are not injured, but certainly not to jettison (edit: or reword) them because they offend the sensibilities of moderns.

Contraire. If you are honest, you would admit you don't believe in any of this nonsense.

What is peculiarly modern is this recourse to some subject that has such a vivid relationship with itself.

Belief is as it does not as you would like to think.

If anything, I think realizing this makes praying such prayers much more honest. If I consider the Gospel and the things Christ clearly calls us to, that I profess to believe, that I am not doing, saying "I am the chief of sinners" is more an acknowledgement of a reality and less a humblebrag.

But I am curious to hear what others think of this topic, especially as it relates to children. My initial thoughts on the OP are still being fleshed out.
You want your belt to buckle, not your chair.

Offline ialmisry

  • There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
  • Strategos
  • ******************
  • Posts: 41,350
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2015, 11:28:17 PM »
If we're honest with ourselves, we will acknowledge that we are exactly what the prayer describes, inclusive of the OP and everyone he's referring to.  I heard and prayed prayers like these my entire life, and my father explained their meaning to me, how and why they were applicable to me, him, my Mom, everyone, and not in a way that made me feel bad, hate myself, get scared, or develop a negative opinion of him or my Mom.

I think we should explain the deeper meaning of the prayers to those who are praying them so they are not injured, but certainly not to jettison (edit: or reword) them because they offend the sensibilities of moderns.

Contraire. If you are honest, you would admit you don't believe in any of this nonsense.

What is peculiarly modern is this recourse to some subject that has such a vivid relationship with itself.

Belief is as it does not as you would like to think.

If anything, I think realizing this makes praying such prayers much more honest. If I consider the Gospel and the things Christ clearly calls us to, that I profess to believe, that I am not doing, saying "I am the chief of sinners" is more an acknowledgement of a reality and less a humblebrag.

But I am curious to hear what others think of this topic, especially as it relates to children. My initial thoughts on the OP are still being fleshed out.
my children weren't scared by religion. Quite the opposite. They were filled with the thought of Providence.

I'll have to find out the specific prayers he is talking about. I don't recognize them, and the particular rule he is referring to.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline ialmisry

  • There's nothing John of Damascus can't answer
  • Strategos
  • ******************
  • Posts: 41,350
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2015, 12:12:49 AM »
Btw, I haven't read all the posts, but I haven't seen where the skeptic shared that his children share his fear. Or is he projecting?
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • Ο προκαθήμενος της Ορθοδοξίας - The President of Orthodoxy
  • Section Moderator
  • Hypatos
  • *****
  • Posts: 33,858
  • Two half-eggs
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: The Ancienter Faith
  • Jurisdiction: But my heart belongs to FOCOF
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #23 on: August 26, 2015, 01:57:02 PM »
I'll have to find out the specific prayers he is talking about. I don't recognize them, and the particular rule he is referring to.

With regard to the specific issues raised in Michael's post, which I quoted above, yes, I would like to see these prayers and the rule in question (I have a hunch about what they might be, but without seeing the prayers, that's all I'm willing to call it right now). 
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

Offline Theophania

  • Ecumenical Dissipation Association *OF* America
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,811
  • Faith: Orthodox
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #24 on: August 26, 2015, 02:00:30 PM »
I'll have to find out the specific prayers he is talking about. I don't recognize them, and the particular rule he is referring to.

With regard to the specific issues raised in Michael's post, which I quoted above, yes, I would like to see these prayers and the rule in question (I have a hunch about what they might be, but without seeing the prayers, that's all I'm willing to call it right now).

The "pernicious serpent" prayer is in my Erie prayer book.
It's common knowledge that you secretly want to be born in early 17th century Russia.  As a serf or a royal, I know not.  Chances are serf.

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • Ο προκαθήμενος της Ορθοδοξίας - The President of Orthodoxy
  • Section Moderator
  • Hypatos
  • *****
  • Posts: 33,858
  • Two half-eggs
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: The Ancienter Faith
  • Jurisdiction: But my heart belongs to FOCOF
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2015, 02:03:47 PM »
I'll have to find out the specific prayers he is talking about. I don't recognize them, and the particular rule he is referring to.

With regard to the specific issues raised in Michael's post, which I quoted above, yes, I would like to see these prayers and the rule in question (I have a hunch about what they might be, but without seeing the prayers, that's all I'm willing to call it right now).

The "pernicious serpent" prayer is in my Erie prayer book.

Is its text online somewhere? 
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

Offline biro

  • Site Supporter
  • Stratopedarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 20,814
  • Excelsior
    • Archive of Our Own works
  • Faith: GOAA
  • Jurisdiction: Antonis said I'm not Christian, so...
My only weakness is, well, never mind

And you'll sleep, but they'll find you

Come back my dream into my arms, into my arms

London is drowning, and I live by the river

https://archiveofourown.org/users/Parakeetist

Offline Theophania

  • Ecumenical Dissipation Association *OF* America
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,811
  • Faith: Orthodox
It's common knowledge that you secretly want to be born in early 17th century Russia.  As a serf or a royal, I know not.  Chances are serf.

Offline podkarpatska

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 9,732
  • Pokrov
    • ACROD (home)
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #28 on: August 26, 2015, 04:05:31 PM »
Most Eastern Orthodox that I know would neither purchase, nor be interested in using an Old Believer prayer book. While the Erie parish has long returned to a now canonical jurisdiction, most of us regard the Old Believers as schismatics, if not worse and would no more use their books than those of the Romans.

From the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta comes this page of suggested Family Prayers..http://www.orthodoxprayer.org/Family_Prayers.html.
and a suggested Prayer Rule which is the same as I was familiar with in the books published by my jurisdiction when I was a boy long ago.  http://www.orthodoxprayer.org/Prayer%20Rule.html





Offline Theophania

  • Ecumenical Dissipation Association *OF* America
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,811
  • Faith: Orthodox
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2015, 04:09:17 PM »
Most Eastern Orthodox that I know would neither purchase, nor be interested in using an Old Believer prayer book. While the Erie parish has long returned to a now canonical jurisdiction, most of us regard the Old Believers as schismatics, if not worse and would no more use their books than those of the Romans.

From the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta comes this page of suggested Family Prayers..http://www.orthodoxprayer.org/Family_Prayers.html.
and a suggested Prayer Rule which is the same as I was familiar with in the books published by my jurisdiction when I was a boy long ago.  http://www.orthodoxprayer.org/Prayer%20Rule.html

The prayers in the Erie book are the same ones used by the entire Russian church before the Nikonian reforms. There's nothing wrong with them.
It's common knowledge that you secretly want to be born in early 17th century Russia.  As a serf or a royal, I know not.  Chances are serf.

Offline Theophania

  • Ecumenical Dissipation Association *OF* America
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,811
  • Faith: Orthodox
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #30 on: August 26, 2015, 04:11:27 PM »
Just checked my Jordanville prayer book. The same prayer is on pages 52-53.
It's common knowledge that you secretly want to be born in early 17th century Russia.  As a serf or a royal, I know not.  Chances are serf.

Offline Antonis

  • Μέγα το Θαύμα!
  • Section Moderator
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,879
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #31 on: August 26, 2015, 04:17:39 PM »
Most Eastern Orthodox that I know would neither purchase, nor be interested in using an Old Believer prayer book. While the Erie parish has long returned to a now canonical jurisdiction, most of us regard the Old Believers as schismatics, if not worse and would no more use their books than those of the Romans.

From the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta comes this page of suggested Family Prayers..http://www.orthodoxprayer.org/Family_Prayers.html.
and a suggested Prayer Rule which is the same as I was familiar with in the books published by my jurisdiction when I was a boy long ago.  http://www.orthodoxprayer.org/Prayer%20Rule.html
1. This is ironic for someone coming from a liturgical tradition that retains customs which only the Old Believers still hold in common.

2. As Kelly said, these prayers were orthodox and are orthodox. Time doesn't change that.

« Last Edit: August 26, 2015, 04:18:13 PM by Antonis »
"Verily they that seek Thee, Lord, and keep the canons of Thy Holy Church shall never want any good thing.”
St. John the Merciful

"This is the one from the beginning, who seemed to be new, yet was found to be ancient and always young, being born in the hearts of the saints."
Letter to Diognetus 11.4

Offline biro

  • Site Supporter
  • Stratopedarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 20,814
  • Excelsior
    • Archive of Our Own works
  • Faith: GOAA
  • Jurisdiction: Antonis said I'm not Christian, so...
Re: "Demeaning" language in prayer
« Reply #32 on: August 26, 2015, 04:27:29 PM »
Just checked my Jordanville prayer book. The same prayer is on pages 52-53.

Yeah, it sounded familiar. :)
My only weakness is, well, never mind

And you'll sleep, but they'll find you

Come back my dream into my arms, into my arms

London is drowning, and I live by the river

https://archiveofourown.org/users/Parakeetist